Several Pennsylvania casinos have petitioned the Commonwealth Court to ban the increasingly popular side games that use the state’s online lottery. In 2017, there was a dramatic shift in the state’s gambling business when it legalized the use of the internet to play casino and poker games. The Pennsylvania Online Lottery At the same time, iLottery entered the world and became an instant hit.
However, a novel outcome was brought about by all the rules and paperwork. Although the online lottery had already been raking in massive profits, land-based casinos were had to wait years before they could begin offering similar games. For the 2018-2019 fiscal year, the state expects to bring in a staggering $1.2 billion, a portion of which will be allocated to aid the state’s aging population.
Confrontation of Meanings
Now there are disagreements in the newly sanctioned industry, leading to a battle of semantics that has many people bewildered. Land-based casinos in the area are up in arms because the lotto site offers a suite of titles in addition to the standard state lotto. The casinos are unconvinced that the games are not slots and have claimed that the services are an infringement on their business.
The offended website has responded by claiming that the games it sells are superficially similar to slot machines. They claim that the software is essentially digital scratch cards and does not involve the basic principles of slot machines. Instead of being persuaded, the casinos fired back with an excerpt from the newly enacted law books, which said that games that resemble casino-style lottery games like slots and Blackjack were off-limits to any organization that was not a registered casino.
While this is happening, the accused is making the same complaint for the same reasons. Lottery Director Drew Svitko has declared that similar electronic games used in pubs and other establishments should be banned because of their similarities to the state lotto. He would prefer to get the estimated $138 million in profits from the machines.
The confounding circumstances are sufficient to make anyone’s head spin, and they highlight the need for clarity and conciseness in newly constituted legislation. Pennsylvania is preparing for what may be an on-going avalanche of gambling-related litigation as the two pending legal suits continue to develop.